I celebrated my 22nd birthday last Thursday and I was asked this question: With all your “years of wisdom” what advice would you give to your younger self or any teenager? With which I responded: “don’t care about what anyone else thinks of you, just be yourself and do what makes you happy”. Then this got me thinking about what I’ve learned so far and what other guidance or recommendations I could give to a teenager, or to my younger self. So here goes 22 pieces of advice for all you young souls out there.
1. Don’t care about what anyone thinks of you
Don’t be scared to truly be yourself, these are the years where you are discovering yourself and really getting to know who you are and evolve as a human. Don’t let anyone else affect the unique path you are on.
2. Enjoy your youth
sometimes we are so eager to grow up that we forget to enjoy the time we are in now. When the future comes it will come, don’t live your life always wishing you were just a little bit older. It will come before you know it, so cherish your age and every day you are living right now, in this moment.
3. Don’t compare yourself to others
This is such an easy trap to fall into that most of us still struggle with as we get older. Be happy with what you have, and love the position, the place, the body and everything you were blessed with. If you can learn this at a young age you have no idea how much happier you will be.
4. Love your body
I can’t stress this enough. Love and appreciate the body that you’re in, it is your temple. Nourish, respect, and love your body. Most girls (and guys) struggle with truly loving their image, and are constantly wishing for better skin, longer hair, a flatter stomach, etc. This is your body that carries you through everything on this earth, and it is so precious. Eat plants foods because you want to nourish your body from the inside out. Exercise because you are grateful for your health, and because you love the body you are in, not because you hate it. Mediate to calm and ease your mind, and find gratitude in your daily life.
5. Enjoy your parents’ company
They brought you into this world and they absolutely love you. Just because your a rebellious teenager doesn’t mean you shouldn’t love and hang out with them. This is the time in your life where you can start becoming friends with your parents, and that’s one of the strongest and most loving friendships you can have.
6. Listen to your parents
To continue with the parent theme… listen to your parents. They are usually right.
7. Find balance
Between everything in your life. Work, school, friends, family, exercising, and time with yourself as well. This is a valuable quality to have as a growing human when you start making your own choices.
8. Don’t be afraid to spend time alone
I know some grown adults who have never, and will never go to a cafe or restaurant alone and sit down and be okay with it. To me, this is important. Time spent alone is the time when you really get to know who you are. Spending good quality time with yourself is essential to growing as an individual.
9. Work and SAVE
You will be so thankful for this. Trust me.
10. Spend time being creative
Try new hobbies, create music, spend time drawing, make jewelry, take photos, put together collages or practice graphic design. You will find so much freedom and expression in this, as it is truly a place to be yourself.
11. Keep a journal
Journals are so meditative and are a great way to deal with emotions or anything else that is going on. Write down lists, do some doodling, make poetry, express your emotions or simply write what you did that day. Journaling is so therapeutic and is a great hard copy of your changing life.
12. Fulfill your own expectations
As a teenager, there are a lot of different expectations for our lives. People asking what you want to be when you grow up, the expectation of grades and college. Expectations from your parents and how they raise you, or even your own sexuality. Don’t let the social norm and expectations drive you away from who you are, and the way you think. Because your mind is beautiful and this life is yours and only yours.
13. Write down your goals
Short term and long term. Write down goals you can accomplish this week, this month, or this year. Then also write goals for the years to come. Have goals that are dreams that you wish to accomplish, and goals that you know you can easily accomplish. This will help keep you motivated and always looking forward and putting effort into something bigger. Plus you will feel great when you can check one off your list.
14. Spend time outdoors
This is so important and a lot of us take it for granted. Put down your computer and phone, turn off the TV and get some fresh air and vitamin D. Get away from social media and really take the time to appreciate nature and all of its benefits. Take your shoes off and put your bare feet in the ground and feel the natural energy coming from the earth. This will make you feel so alive and humble.
15. Don’t give into all those fad diets and weight loss options
Seriously girls, and you guys too. Restricting your calories, trying harmful diets, eating weird processed shakes, supplements, and diet pills are something you really should not do. I know at the time all these things might sound good, or a “quick fix” but they harm your body in so many ways, cause hormone imbalances, makes your age quicker, makes your skin look like crap, makes you feel like crap and will not keep the weight off long term. If you want to lose weight naturally, sustainable, and long term-try eating a plant-based vegan diet! I wish I had known about this when I was in middle school and high school, it is life changing. You can eat an abundant amount of food plant foods that your body craves and not gain weight.
16. Don’t become sexually active until you are ready
Most girls know this in their hearts but give in to the pressure. You will not feel good doing it with someone who isn’t right. This is your body, and it is so precious. Don’t let pressure or fear take that away from you. When your ready you will know.
17. Write down daily what you are grateful for
Or start keeping a gratitude journal. Writing even 3-5 things you’re grateful for daily will make your days brighter and you will feel more appreciative of your life no matter what place your in. If you make this a habit it will bring so much extra joy into your daily life.
18. Don’t feel the need to hide behind makeup
I used to wear a lot of makeup because I thought it made me fit in, helped me look older, prettier and more “acceptable” to societies standards, and to cover up any imperfections. It wasn’t until I stopped wearing all the makeup that I really began to feel comfortable in my own skin. Your skin will be so much clearer if you don’t wear makeup, and you will really grow into who you are. Don’t cover up your perfect natural beauty, you are so beautiful the way you are, and I wish every girl knew this. It’s okay to wear make up for fun or a night out, but don’t let the makeup wear you.
19. Do things for yourself
I have always been a people pleaser, and during my high school years, I think this harmed me the most. I found myself doing more things to please other people, and doing what was expected of me, rather than being who I truly am and embracing that. Everyone is different, we all have different qualities within ourselves that makes us, us. Don’t just think a certain way, or say a certain thing because that’s what you think you should do to please the people around you. Do things for yourself, stick up for who you are, and let your mind truly speak itself and be known.
20. Don’t judge other people
Be accepting and loving of everyone because you never know what they’re going through, or what they have been through. Don’t put anyone else down for any reason, because ladies and gentlemen, karma is a bitch.
21. These little things will pass
I know as a teenager we can so easily get hung up on so many things, it can sometimes feel like the end of the world. Welp, I’m here to tell you that it’s not. Years from now you will look back and realize how minuscule a lot of the things you got hung up on are. I know sometimes it’s hard to look past it, but just breathe, journal, go on a walk, clear your mind, and remember “this too shall pass”.
22. Own yourself
Really guys. Be who you are and do it for you and you only. Don’t do certain things, or dress a certain way or say certain things because everyone else is. This is the time to find who you are, so embrace it, and love it, and love yourself and all you have to offer because you are amazing. And I’m not just saying that.